Travis Sawchik FanGraphs Chat by Travis Sawchik August 7, 2017 12:06 Travis Sawchik: Howdy 12:06 Travis Sawchik: My apologies for the slight delay here …. 12:07 Travis Sawchik: I enjoyed my first Saber seminar over the weekend. Lot of great research and people getting together at Boston U over the weekend 12:07 Travis Sawchik: And thanks to everyone who attended our FanGraphs meet-up on Friday. That was a lot of fun 12:08 Travis Sawchik: OK, OK … let’s get to the questions 12:08 Matty P: Jay Bruce has a positive DRS. and has great power. why isn’t he on a contender? 12:08 Travis Sawchik: This was just a really poor market for position players … but Bruce can certainly help somewhere. It’s almost too extreme of a non-market 12:09 Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Noah Syndergaard would rather cameo in Game of Thrones than pitch for the Mets. I mean, I stopped watching two seasons ago, but I wish I could say the same thing about the Mets. 12:09 Travis Sawchik: This is not a question but it is quite an entertaining comment. Well done. 12:10 Travis Sawchik: I haven’t watched GoT since season 3. Let me know if anyone wants to share their HBOGo account info so I can learn about what I’m missing on Sunday nights 12:10 CamdenWarehouse: No Fangraphs Audio last week? Does Carson not understand what is important in life? 12:11 Travis Sawchik: Fatherhood is consuming Mr. Cistuilli 12:11 AC: Has Fangraphs ever done an article on the most overpaid/underpaid players of all time? If not, who do you think would have the biggest discrepancy between their total career earnings and their WAR? 12:11 Travis Sawchik: Not a bad thought, would have to adjust for inflation 12:11 Lloyd Braun’s Freezer: Would you take the over or under on FG’s 19% WS odds for the Dodgers? 12:12 Travis Sawchik: Baseball is nuts but I’d go over 12:12 Daniel: Are you going to do an article about Markakis in honor of 2000th hit? 12:13 Travis Sawchik: It’s time to talk about Nick Markakis again 12:13 Joe: Is Alex Wood’s decreasing velocity and recent “fatigue” a cause of concern? 12:13 Travis Sawchik: http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=13781&position=P&pitch… 12:14 Travis Sawchik: Yes. That’s concerning 12:14 Travis Sawchik: Might be worth looking into … Post idea! 12:14 Matty P: Astros your AL world series pick right now? 12:15 Travis Sawchik: Astros are great. But Corey Kluber is striking out the world and if Danny Salazar can continue this …. and I like what the Yankees have done … AL is a more muddled field for me 12:16 Travis Sawchik: Astros are favorites, but I actually like Cleveland to come out of the AL 12:16 Travis Sawchik: Maybe I’m biased 12:16 Travis Sawchik: Of course I’m biased, but I’m trying to not let too much bias creep in 12:16 Hannah Hochevar: Thoughts on the O’s bringing in Hellboy? Other than that it’s a bizarre, short-sighted bit of nonsense? 12:17 Travis Sawchik: I don’t understand what is happening in Baltimore. Are Britton and Machado going to walk away for some comp picks after 2018? 12:17 Steve: Are you surprised there wasn’t more of a market for Yonder Alonso? 12:17 Travis Sawchik: I am. I thought he made a lot of sense to be included in the Sonny Gray trade 12:18 John: there’s no way bruce is actually playing above avg Defense right? 12:18 Travis Sawchik: Plus-6 DRS! 12:18 Travis Sawchik: -11 last year r 12:19 Steve: Fangraphs’ playoff odds give the Brewers a 5.2 percent chance of winning the Central. You have to like their chances better than that right? 12:19 Travis Sawchik: We are probably underselling the Brewers …. but we have them with a -16 run differential for the rest of the season 12:20 Travis Sawchik: I do suspect they have better than a 5.2 percent chance since they are a half game back 12:21 Travis: He’s one of only like 250 players in MLB history to have 2,000 hits. 12:22 Travis Sawchik: Markakis forever 12:22 George : Andrelton Simmons is now possibly really really good. Mike Trout finally has a friend 12:22 Travis Sawchik: Mike Petriello @mike_petriello Andrelton Simmons is out-hitting Moustakas & Betts, and he still has that elite glove. Has anyone noticed? More: m.angels.mlb.com/news/article/2… 6 Aug 2017 12:23 Travis Sawchik: It feels like no one has noticed this except George and Mike 12:23 Travis Sawchik: 122 wRC+, 4.4 WAR, +19 DRS 12:24 Travis Sawchik: Lot of talk about all the shortstop talent in the game right now but Simmons is having as good a season as any of them 12:24 PS: Do you think the Yankees will catch the sox for the ALE? 12:24 Travis Sawchik: I think it’s possible. I love what the Yankees did leading up to the deadline 12:24 Murdoc: Would Gio Urshela win a gold glove at third if he played a full season? 12:25 Travis Sawchik: He has an outstanding glove … So, yeah, if the bat would allow him to get 600 PAs 12:26 Avila not Avila: Acuna for Fulmer, who says no? 12:26 Travis Sawchik: Detroit 12:26 Charles: Hey Travis, considering trading away Miggy (and a little pitching) for Donaldson? Good for me, or will Miggy rebound? 12:26 Travis Sawchik: I don’t hate it 12:27 Xolo: At what point can you assume that a player’s struggles are mental? 12:28 Travis Sawchik: Beyond the obvious ‘yips’ issues, looking at things like changes to O-chase, swing rate, 2-strike swing rate, could speaking to a player becoming more anxious. There are data tools we can employ to infer things 12:29 Chris S: Travis Shaw is raking 12:29 Travis Sawchik: And he insists its unintentional http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/travis-shaw-breakout-hitter-and-contrar… 12:29 Keith: Biggest name to be moved before the waiver trade deadline? Just saw a Verlander-to-the-Astros rumour. 12:30 Travis Sawchik: Seems like there should be some sort of market for Verlander 12:30 GencoOliveOil: Hey Travis, enjoyed your panel. You mention how in this role, you have to come up with a lot more ideas and you don’t have the usual stuff like notes columns. Could you made such a huge change / would you have done such a thing before writing a book? 12:34 Travis Sawchik: Thanks for attending! It is a much different role. The key to being a writer at FG is idea creation (and I am certainly not batting 1.000 or wRC+ing like 250) . I am not sure the book played a role in the decision of joining FG. A book is basically one big idea linking stories together, FG is about a lot of little ideas — if that makes sense 12:34 CJ: What do you think the Yankees should do about Sanchez’s defense? DH him and use Romine at C? 12:34 Travis Sawchik: I should refrain from all Gary Sanchez-related questions 12:35 Travis Sawchik: Is Sanchez going through a defense slump? (I haven’t seen him play much lately) 12:35 CJ: What’s your opinion on the new stat – xwOBA? 12:36 Travis Sawchik: I really like it. It boils a lot of important batted ball quality information into one handy number 12:36 Los: So Serpico clearly has his eye on WS mvp. No question, just wanted you to agree with this. 12:36 Travis Sawchik: That was pretty crazy 12:37 Coppy: Acuna for Fulmer…yeah we say no too. Thanks for thinking of us though. 12:37 Travis Sawchik: It’s nice when we can all find agreement on something 12:38 CamdenWarehouse: Is Jimmy Nelson having a fluke year or has he really turned the corner? 12:38 Travis Sawchik: He’s made real performance gains. I believe Mr. Jeff Sullivan detailed them a month or two ago. I spoke with him last month for a piece 12:39 Slapshot: There’s been a big row in the DC area about the Nationals lineup, with a couple radio hosts insisting for the longest time that Rendon should bat 2nd (based on pure numbers), with Baker generally batting him 6th to protect Murphy (based on a more “human” approach). This has gotten to the point where even the Cubs broadcasters brought this up on air over the weekend. It’s hard to quibble with the results, seeing what the Nats record is, but who’s “right” here? The pure numbers approach, or the fact that maybe baseball lineups need to take more than numbers into account? 12:40 Travis Sawchik: It’s great debate-show fodder, and it probably doesn’t make a huge difference either way, but you want your best bat in the No. 2 spot ideally … For me (and Joey Votto) protection is more about who is batting ahead of you in a lineup, meaning how often are there guys on base 12:41 Marwin Gonzales- Power Hitter: On a scale of 1 to 10, how concerned are you about the Astros’ bullpen? 12:41 Travis Sawchik: Bullpens are weird but so are the last 30 days for the Astros’ pen http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=0&… 12:42 Wilcomax : Do you think the Royals will be able to hang onto a wild card spot? 12:43 Travis Sawchik: They have the best odds at the moment but I kind of like the Rays to sneak in 12:44 John: Biggest name to be moved this month will be….? 12:44 Travis Sawchik: Verlander has a chance to move 12:45 JT: Is it time to conclude that Austin Meadows is a bust? 12:45 Travis Sawchik: This seems premature but it’s been a rough 12 months. He’s had so many hamstring issues, which is a concern 12:46 Travis Sawchik: His last 12 months are another reason to keep Andrew McCutchen around for 2018 12:47 Jaime: How do you treat players that have obvious signs of regression but have great stuff? Thinking of Fulmer here. Big gap between ERA and SIERA for most of season but three legit pitches. 12:48 Travis Sawchik: I don’t think Fulmer’s over performing that much …but I always like to look at pitch quality, swing-and-miss rates, to see what are supporting the success 12:48 Matty P: Travis I checked out the standings this morning, and the Padres are….not as bad as I thought they’d be 12:48 Travis Sawchik: We have them headed toward a 91-loss season … not so bad! 12:49 Noah: What’s the ETA on Syndergaard? Fantasy playoffs? 12:50 Travis Sawchik: He still hasn’t returned to the mound, I believe. And the Mets don’t have a real reason to hurry him back 12:50 Sonny: whoa ‘from his kitchen’s breakfast bar’ really making my ‘reading Travis’ chat while eating leftovers at his kitchen sink’ look shabby 12:50 Travis Sawchik: Hey, I’ve been there … and recently 12:51 Street: Thoughts on Devers? Any possible comps? 12:52 Travis Sawchik: He’s been so good. Why were we waiting so long? I’m hesitant to place a comp on him at this point 12:53 Towel: Who has the highest DRS at 3b ever and is Matt Chapman going to eclipse them in half a season? 12:53 Travis Sawchik: Manny Machado in 2013 (35 DRS) 12:53 Billy Eppler : How do the Angels have 2 MVP candidates/top 10 WAR guys and still suck? Asking for a friend…. 12:54 Travis Sawchik: MLB is a much different animal than, say, the NBA or even NFL (where finding a QB is half the battle ) 12:54 Jake: Do you think Carlos Rodon has a shot at being an elite level pitcher next season? He struggled initially coming off injury this year but I think a large part of that was rust. He now has 31 strikeouts in his last 3 starts with only 5 walks and his K rate is up to 30% on the season. 12:55 Travis Sawchik: I’ve liked him since NC State, like just about everyone 30% K rate and 11.3% swinging strike rates are career bests 12:55 Travis Sawchik: He could take a leap with improved command 12:55 Dunkin’ Donuts: What are some of the better defensive metrics to use to evaluate a player? 12:56 Travis Sawchik: Nothing is perfect but I start with DRS and Statcast should eventually give us a much better understanding of true defensive talent. We’re getting there 12:58 Playoffs?: Player x and y will be in the most fantasy champs team? 12:58 Travis Sawchik: Hmmmm… Judge seemed like an easy one before he still started cooling off, James Paxton, maybe ……… 12:59 Michelle: How is the house selling process going? 1:00 Travis Sawchik: Sold! (Pending completion of inspections and closing). That has been less stressful than buying. The west side of Cleveland has a crazy housing market right now 1:00 Travis Sawchik: Didn’t we just go through a housing bubble that sunk the world economy? 1:00 Travis Sawchik: You wouldn’t know it in Bay Village or Rocky River Ohio 1:00 Don’t @ me bro: Will Mike Trout lead the league in WAR this year? I know it’s overkill at this point, but how lucky are we to have him playing baseball? 1:01 Travis Sawchik: This came up at Saber seminar …. How many players have led league in WAR and not qualified for batting title? 1:01 mario mendoza: Is Glasnow ready? Will he get another shot? 1:01 Travis Sawchik: Glasnow has told reporters he’s made real improvements and his stuff was worse at the ML level than it had ever played in the minors …. This is a buying opportunity for dynasty players 1:02 Raindog: Which incredibly mediocre AL team snags the second wild card? 1:02 Travis Sawchik: Rays 1:02 jim: Do you think the Mets are in bad shape going forward or is this just a bad year? They could have a nice core with Conforto, Smith, Rosario, and Cespedes along with Degrom and Noah but the upper levels of the farm are a little barren now and the bullpen and rotation are major questions. 1:03 Travis Sawchik: I kind of like the Mets as a sleeper 2018 …major bounce-back potential with some roster improvements around a healthier core 1:03 Craig in CHI: If Trump wanted to buy a baseball team, would MLB let him in the club? (assuming he actually is a billionaire #notaxreturns) 1:04 Travis Sawchik: Let’s hope not. If MLB won’t let Mark Cuban in, I can’t imagine Trump would be admitted … but baseball is reality television, so, who knows 1:04 E: Can you sleep on airplanes? 1:05 Travis Sawchik: I cannot. I need total darkness and/or a calming gray noise like the Charlie Rose program 1:06 Andy: RE: Trump…. They let George W. Bush in the club… 1:06 Travis Sawchik: I’m not going to dive to deeply into politics in this safe space … but those two things are not the same 1:07 ManBearPuig: Giancarlo reestablishing himself this year as a top-level player? 1:07 Travis Sawchik: Seems to be. Interestingly, he’s been overshadowed by the only player larger than him in the game 1:08 Kevin: Is Eric Thames just not that good? 1:08 Travis Sawchik: He’s not Barry Bonds. But he has been impacted by injury, and teams getting more advance scouting material on him. I think his overall slash line is probably close to who he is, which is a nice player 1:09 jim: On a scale of 1 to 10 how annoyed should I be when the Mets bring back Jay Bruce next year? 1:09 Travis Sawchik: As long as Conforto is playing every day, I’d be OK with it 1:09 AJ : Hey Travis. If Stanton is claimed on waivers, is there any chance the Marlins pull him back? Thanks. 1:10 Travis Sawchik: I wouldn’t give Stanton away …. but it’s not my money, either 1:10 fangraphs dan the fangraphs man: could you ever see yourself pulling an august and working for a team 1:11 Travis Sawchik: Baseball has banned anyone with ties to Mt. Lebanon, Pa. (Mark Cuban, myself) from working in baseball 1:11 Travis Sawchik: Well, Ian Happ is playing … but that’s an on-field thing 1:13 Travis Sawchik: But, on a serious note, teams have become more interested in hiring writers. The Indians have hired a number including two, I believe, from Baseball America 1:13 Jim: Can a team be so good it’s boring? 1:13 Travis Sawchik: Yeah, I mean drama is really tied to win probability within games and playoff races 1:14 MVP: At what point do we start asking if Trout is the GOAT? 1:15 Travis Sawchik: Long way to go. But if he can continue this for 10 more years and have a gentle decline to Age 40 … 1:15 Dipper Pines: Why is Lindor trying to be a power hitter? His fly ball % is way up this year. 1:16 Travis Sawchik: I actually like what he’s done, when he’s not expanded the zone. He appears to be trying to elevate. He has surprising power for a middle infielder 1:16 Travis Sawchik: There’s an outside chance he hits 30 HRs this year 1:16 Travis Sawchik: But I am not sure what is going on with his defense. Negative DRS 1:17 Called up, way up: What do you think of the Mets choosing Coors for Rosario’s first series? 1:17 Travis Sawchik: Nothing wrong with building confidence, right? 1:17 Nicole: Bryan Shaw is not generating enough swings and misses lately. Is this a slump or are the years of overuse coming back to haunt him? 1:17 Travis Sawchik: He’s been a workhorse for the club but he’s also a regression candidate. Indians bullpen has been great but I like the Joe Smith add 1:18 Rendom: What do you think of the Mariners’ chances next year? Most of the position players should be back, and it would be hard to have *worse* health in their rotation–is that enough to predict a wild card performance? 1:18 Travis Sawchik: I could see the Mariners as a WC team … I’d love to see Paxton in a postseason series 1:19 Big Ane: Most interesting white pitching prospect outside of kopech? 1:19 Travis Sawchik: Sox? Or Race? 1:19 Travis Sawchik: Brent Honeywell is white and interesting 1:20 MVP: Why do people still say “surprising power for a middle infielder”? Haven’t guys like Cano, Utley, Seager, prime Tulo, even Schoop, Castro, and Neil Walker changed what we expect out of those guys? 1:20 Travis Sawchik: The positions have changed, and SS combined for record power last year … so, yeah, I might have said a dumb thing and fallen back upon a cliche of conventional wisdom 1:21 Archie Graham: Keep 5 forever, traded Polanco, Paxton, Salazar and Hand for Trea Turner. My other keepers are 4 out of the following: Archer/Moncada/Devers/Marte/Lamb. I did good, no? 1:21 Travis Sawchik: If you’re only keeping five, I like paying a premium for elite talent 1:22 Babe Lincoln: If Thames could opt out after this year and (hypothetically) did so, what contract would he get in the winter? 1:23 Travis Sawchik: 3y/45m-ish 1:23 HappyFunBall: FWIW, Bush was the owner of the Rangers _before_ he held any political office (He sold his shares a couple of years into his tenure as Governor of Texas). At the point he bought in, he was just a wealthy son of a powerful political family. 1:23 Travis Sawchik: And better manners among other things 1:25 Choo Choo: Explain to me why it is procedural for the Nats to send Harper through waiver? 1:25 Travis Sawchik: https://www.fanragsports.com/news/heyman-harper-votto-among-superstars… 1:25 Travis Sawchik: A Harper-Votto trade would be something 1:26 Latetotheparty: Sorry if you answered this… What’s the deal with that Alonso trade? Boog Powell, their best return? Can’t fathom that the Yankees wouldn’t have offered more. 1:26 Travis Sawchik: Such a weird market. I thought Alonso to the Yankees along with Gray made a lot of sense 1:27 Tom: Re: Harper and Votto–neither one made Dave’s trade value list; who actually has more trade value at this point? 1:27 Travis Sawchik: This is kind of an interesting question, right? 1:27 Travis Sawchik: If the Nats wanted to extend their window, that trade makes some sense 1:28 Dipper Pines: What’s your take on Smoak? 1:28 Travis Sawchik: I guess this is real. I thought he was going to be mark teixeira II coming out of S. Carolina … maybe it just took eight years 1:30 Who_Is_Zorbist?: Tim Beckham: Apparently the going price of a pre-arb 2-3 win SS is a low A arm outside your top 30 prospects. What the hell were the Rays thinking? 1:30 Travis Sawchik: Position player trade value is really something this year 1:31 Da Bum: Looked at Bregman lately? Interesting hitting profile. He’s making contact at an extreme rate, never striking out and still walking a good amount. One of the top hitters in the 2nd half. 1:32 Travis Sawchik: He was going to get it together sooner or later 1:32 Travis Sawchik: Astros need more help of course 😉 1:33 Travis Sawchik: That music you hear, I believe it’s a chorus of french horns, means we are drawing to the conclusion of the program 1:33 Travis Sawchik: Thanks for the questions! 1:33 Travis Sawchik: We’ll be back next week 1:33 Travis Sawchik: Be good. Do good.